We're already doing a lot for the climate, Dutch PM tells protesting school kids

Prime Minister Mark Rutte called a climate protest by thousands of school kids in The Hague on Thursday "fantastic", but added that they can not demand more far-reaching measures from the cabinet. The Netherlands is already doing a lot for the climate, compared to other European countries, according to the Prime Minister. "Guys, what more do you want?" he said, NOS reports.

Rutte was referring to the Netherlands' goal of 49 percent less CO2 emissions in 2030 compared to 1990. Last month the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL said that the government is still far away from achieving its climate targets. Even going so far to say that it's goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent by 2020 is out of reach. 

On Thursday over 10 thousand pupils skipped school to protest for the government to do more against climate change. They gathered on the Malieveld and marched  through the city - passing Rutte's office. The Prime Minister does not want to see this protest as a "race" for who does the most for the climate, according to NOS. "Let's pull the rope together", Rutte said. "Instead of taking each other on."

Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate said he understands why the young people are demonstrating. "I understand. It is more their climate than ours."

On Thursday morning 350 Dutch scientists and academics published an open letter in Trouw in which they expressed support for the pupils' action. "On the basis of the facts provided by climate science, the activists are absolutely right." They added that it is "high time" for political leadership, effective measures and behavioral change. "Otherwise the group of young people who are protesting for their own future this week, will be the victims.